Meuko! Meuko! – 鬼島 Ghost Island

MeukoThere is a police helicopter flying over my house. It’s been back and forth all morning, combing the neighbourhood for additional evidence of last night’s shooting.

We know some of what happened at about 10 pm local time here. Just a few hundred metres north of our home, a young man walked across the busy Danforth Avenue randomly shooting at pedestrians and restaurant patrons. There are fourteen casualties, two fatal as of this morning.

Greektown, as it’s locally known, is a busy urban centre in Toronto’s east end. Home to dozens of bistros, cafes and more, it is the kind of place people visit on an idyllic Sunday evening in July.

It is also a lovely place to call home. Unlike some parts of town that have been gentrified to a point that endangers the local heritage, the community surrounding Danforth Avenue is shared amicably by families from all over the world.

Long-time residents share their Greek heritage generously. Many of us lucky enough to live here think there is no better place to raise a family in this city.

Somehow, many of us woke up this morning to learn that the woman who runs our local dry cleaner and her son are among the victims. All of us are fearful of what news might come next.

It is difficult to measure the kind of cognitive dissonance presented by events like this. Random acts of violence are almost always just that. Lightning strikes – that’s the analogy my wife and I have chosen to help our 13- and 11-year old get their heads around the news.

What we won’t share with them is this nagging sense a lot of us have that there is something else happening; this undercurrent of ugliness that seems to dominate our global – and all too often local – media.

Because this is a space dedicated to music, allow me to shift the focus to a remarkable new recording that seems to capture that near-universal sense of angst.

Taipei artist Pon’s 鬼島 Ghost Island, recorded under the name Meuko! Meuko!, features a distorted mess of crunchy electronics, menacing beats and traditional instruments. It is a study of Taipei and her desire to escape its “muggy, emissions-filled air, and hectic streetscapes.”

I’m providing a link to an excellent piece in Pitchfork which does Pon’s project more justice than this distracted entry.

What I will say though is that she has produced something bigger than her relatively modest description. This album sounds very much like the world we live in and yes, that some of us wish we could escape.

Kevin Press

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